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Ladislav Bartůněk (1931) - Biography


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Ladislav Bartůněk was born on July 14, 1931 in Rosice in the Chrudim district. During WWII he was supplying food to partisans who were hiding in a nearby forest. He was an admirer of Scouting since his early years and he became a member of the recently established Junák troop (Czech Boy Scout organization - transl.'s note) in Rosice immediately after the war. He was not interested in politics, but the coup d'état in February 1948 shocked him nevertheless. The suspicious death of the foreign minister Jan Masaryk Ladislav affected Ladislav as well. With friends who shared the same views he began making pamphlets with slogans ‘Death to Communism,' which they posted at various places in Chrast. In 1949 he was imprisoned for four months based on the suspicion of an attempt at crossing the state border, but eventually this was not proven in court and he was allowed to return home. In May 1951 Ladislav met nineteen-year-old Růžena Havlová from nearby Žďárec u Skutče. The young couple started planning their future together. It was in her home when the StB arrived to arrest Ladislav at night from 22nd on 23rd July 1952 and they took him to an interrogation room in Pardubice. He was subjected to torture during interrogations. They did not let him sleep for several days, they used electric current to torture him and they broke his lumbar vertebra. Eventually they sentenced him to six years of imprisonment on 28th and 29th November 1952 in a staged court trial which was held in a Sokol gymnasium in Skuteč. Ladislav then spent three and a half years in communist prisons and labour camps near uranium mines. His first steps after his release led to Růžena Havlová whom he married nine months later on September 29, 1956. In 1968 and 1990 he participated on the restoration of the Boy Scout organization in Skuteč. He experienced the worst moments of his life in 2012 when his wife died. In 2018 he was living in Žďárec u Skutče.

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